Cuthbertson HS Blue Note Winds Perform at National Festival

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Cuthbertson High School Blue Note Winds lead by Todd Ebert, Director of Bands, was invited to and attended the National Concert Band Festival.  The Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha, was held at Butler University on March 15-17, 2018.  65 students, 2 directors, and 7 chaperones from Cuthbertson High School were able to attend the Festival along with 15 other concert bands selected from a nationwide audition.

To apply, the band students listened to two dozen pieces and then selected their audition piece.  David Maslanka’s Symphony #4 was chosen and the 30 minute long symphony was recorded to send in with their application.  Bands must also receive recommendations from college band directors or composers and send in their resume to the national office.  Blue Note Winds is one of only two high schools from North Carolina, and the only Union County School, ever selected to attend the Festival.  This was their second time being invited.  In order to attend the Festival, each student had to raise significant funds for the trip.  The boosters also helped support the band with their fundraising efforts to offset the cost of the students.

The piece that the students chose, Maslanka’s Symphony #4, is collegiate level music, a masterwork meant for the top colleges.  Maslanka was well-known for his composed pieces for winds including more than 150 works with over 50 pieces for wind ensembles, eight symphonies, seventeen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces.  He passed away last summer.

While at the Festival, the Blue Notes Winds performed at Butler University.  There were approximately seven college band directors and composers at the Festival to provide instruction and feedback to the 16 selected bands.  Each band attended clinics with these icons to talk about how to improve their performance.  They were then broken out by instrument section or individually to attend master classes and receive private lessons from The Chicago Symphony members and Butler University staff members.  A National Honor Band was selected from performers of the attending schools and three of Cuthbertson’s band members were carefully chosen for this Honor Band.

Ebert said, “As their director, I am so proud of the students for not only being chosen to represent North Carolina and Union County in this event, but also their hard work over these last few months to prepare for this performance.”  This past spring, Cuthbertson High School’s Blue Note Winds received a grant from the Union County Arts Council to have a professional recording made of their Symphony #4 performance.  Next year, the Band has been invited to perform at the Presidents Cup in Washington D.C. in March 2019.

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